Reports from the Bunker

the only complete man in the industry

Archive for the ‘Life Pains’ Category

Fear, Selfishness, Ego

leave a comment »

This is me. I am going to speak to my sponsor this weekend because I frustrated. Each of these things seems to feed the other and when I slip into one, it wakes and feeds the others. I have not been going to enough meetings, and that is part of what is happening with me, that said, I also made a conscious choice at work to stop being so humble as it seemed to be hurting me professionally. The problem is, there doesn’t seem to be a dial on my ego it is more like a big switch, either on or off and at full speed. I have made great strides in promoting my ability and intellect at work, but I am also growing increasingly judgemental of people and being authoritative, curt and condescending, even snapping at people and much in the way that Hunter Thompson describes an Ether binge, I find myself watching it happening, knowing I am behaving in a way that is no longer comfortable or in any way okay to myself and yet I seem powerless to stop it.

I have a new fourth step to start and I am going to need, more meetings, prayer and meditation. I think I might have to return to practicing continual humility and accept the potential consequences to my work life, because every time I act like a jerk, I feel like a jerk and it brings up guilt, shame, resentment and runs ragged over my self image.

Someday’s real sobriety is harder than others.

Advertisements

Written by jamesjanus

July 20, 2012 at 6:49 pm

My mother

with 2 comments

has been in the hospital for a week, she went in because she had been feeling weak and on Sunday last week she laid down, she stayed in bed until Thursday and didn’t eat or drink much. She has always been very able and independent, so no one checked on her and didn’t think much of it when she didn’t return calls. It was quickly determined that she had a large tumor in her colon and maybe something in her Liver. She has cancer. Yesterday, it was determined that it has in fact spread to her liver where it is ‘inoperable”  She is 77 years old and some of the opinions so far are bleak. The truth is that the biopsies are not back yet and we have not heard from the Oncologist (Cancer Dr.).  So, we wait.

The emotion of it all seems lodged deep inside of me and apparently, no ready to deal with it yet, I am yet to get it out. I can say a few things from a perspective of gratitude however, I am grateful that, unlike in the past, I am present and capable of being there for my Mom, for my oldest sister, whom along with myself have taken the bulk of the load in dealing with this. I am dealing with it properly at this point, feeling it, but not reacting like an alcoholic and just doing my best to be helpful and be there for my family.  My sister said today “I know I can rely on you (and Kim) and you will be there”.  This is new. That I have taken time off work and have been doting on my mother and making it to the hospital often, all of it new and I am so filled with gratitude to God(s) and AA and my wife, which is another story.

My, wife, my Mo Anam Cara, my sun, my moon and the stars in my sky. Kim has been there for me and my mother and sister every step of the way, staying home, leaving work early and when she is at the hospital, doing what she can to keep us all engaged and look after Mom. Alone, at home, she is supportive and attentive and loving. This is hard for her too, she has just really started getting close to my mother, she sees it hurting me and it also opens relatively fresh wounds about the loss of her own father.

Facing the potential loss of my mother to Cancer is hard, it brings into laser focus the reality of our mortality and I look at myself and around me, wondering “when”, when does it happen to the rest of us. Also, those things I am grateful for are another source of pain. I want lots more time with her, I am just beginning to be a real human being, to be a decent son and I want her to get to see more of that, to be a part of it.

The summary lesson here I suppose is, whenever I start taking people and relationships for granted, I need to remember that our existence here is fragile and we never have as much time with people as we think we do. If there is someone or someones out there that you love, don’t neglect that and don’t put off engaging with them because you might run the clock out long before you think.

Written by jamesjanus

June 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Really Struggling with Social Stuff

leave a comment »

Recently, interacting with other people has become so laborious, anxiety inducing and frankly depressing. I just don’t feel like talking to and interacting with most people, not even my friends, outside of my wife and kids in fact, I am starting to dread and loathe having to interact with people. I simply have no desire to have conversations or listen to people or really be around them. Even at my meetings, I tend to sit or stand apart and alone before and after and not talk much and at work I started timing my breaks so that I go smoke alone instead of with anyone else.

This is an old problem, I hate it and I do not really understand where it is coming from.  It makes it difficult to want to go anywhere, the gym or work or gatherings. Work is the worst, not just because of the inherent social nature of offices, but because I ride into work and back home with another co-worker and I hate the entire idea of the car ride, feeling obligated to make conversation when I am really not into it. I hope this passes soon. I will pray on it and continue my step work with the hope that that will help it pass.

Written by jamesjanus

June 13, 2012 at 5:52 pm

I have missed you everyday for six years Roy

leave a comment »

and the nambi comes for us

not never for you anymore

having bitten for the final time

and you never to awaken

sleep beyond it and us

no more jones or dose

no hangover or headache

nor heartache or heartbreak

no more honesty and healing

you shot a whole right through

them all, with a bullet that

travels on and with ricochet

and wounds for all of us

left standing in the muck

no more laughter and love

no more confession or sex

nor arguement or cry for help

no more vision or cosmic feeling

we are without you now and now

more than ever the world seems

unkind and the streets uneven

as we don yet another black veil

to say ‘you cannot understand’

no more ancient wisdom and worry

no more world saving or beauty

nor power of love or forgiving

no more dreams or planning

you shot your whole through

these too, you see, it was not

all for you, but it was all with

you and in your absense it has already

begun the process of withering

no more cosmic muffin and doom

no more nut blessing or prayer

nor roy the goat, or the man

no more cosmic predisposition

what to say but that you failed

and in saying that; it follows

we failed too. Love and beauty

let us down or we did them, but

our journey ending with your gun

Written by jamesjanus

June 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm

A Letter, Prayer, Whatever

leave a comment »

Six years this year, your birthday just past on Sunday and the anniversary of your tragic departure is coming up in two weeks. The last few years, I kept arriving upon these moments when I thought I had made peace, “gotten over it”, you know? And there are days and times when I think of you and the pain is not so terrible, which I guess is why I can find myself under that impression. But always, always my friend, at some odd moment it will hit me, I miss you and I wish you were here. That bullet is still bouncing around in so many of us, and for most it is tearing stuff up still.

I wish you could  see me being a father, a real husband and I wish you could meet Kim and the boys. I have found the loves of my life and I can say it without cynicism or reservation, her and the boys are this magical light that has entered and changed me forever.  I wish you could see me sober and maybe have taken that journey with me. Mostly, I find myself today, having these moments when I just wish you were there to talk to, whether in person or on the other side of the phone. I spend some long quiet moments, often, remembering the sound of your voice and that deranged cackle of yours. I have moments where in my heart it is still unfathomable and impossible to process, refuses to register that you are gone and you will not be coming back.  There are cruel moments too, usually in the middle of some great joy or very early in the morning when I actually forget and I think about seeing you, telling you some story and I have to remind myself that you are gone.

I hear some people give your mom a hard time and M too, wondering why they aren’t over it by now. Six years, isn’t that long enough? Long enough to get over the loss of a son, or the father of your child? Anyone you loved?  Six years is a very long time and  I suppose I understand the outsider’s perspective and I realize that everyone grieves differently. I am trying not to judge those for whom the pain is gone.  The simple truth is that for some of us, there will be no getting over it, not in Six years, and not in Sixty. I looked down to see Jovu sitting in your sisters dining room and I thought I had taken a heart punch, that dumb little sculpture brought back such a flood memory. You, insane, painting the walls  of that doomed apartment and the furniture, determined that you would be an artist! I had dread locks and fleas, the cat used my bed for a litter box and we could have filled the pool with all the tequila we drank.  You’ll never paint again, or do yoga or cut someone’s lawn with scissors.

I am supposed to be writing from a perspective of gratitude and that is hard with this topic, especially to be honest about it. I am grateful though, grateful that I knew and loved you when you were here. I am grateful even, not for you demise, but for how it spun me far enough out of control that I had to find my way to my own grave or sobriety. I am not sure I would sober today if it weren’t for your going and shooting yourself, that said, your life is the one and only thing I would trade my sobriety for.

I am grateful that M is taking really good care of herself and your baby girl, I hope that you are watching over them and can see that amazing duo. I am very grateful that M has forgiven me for being a stupid ass after you died and for doubting her. We talk often and I would do anything she asked to help her and your daughter.

I am grateful that I have faith today, that I can believe you are out there somewhere in some form or another. That I believe these letters I write you mean something and that you somehow get them.

I miss you my friend, my brother.

 

Written by jamesjanus

May 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Today, I am grateful for

leave a comment »

so much, it is hard to know where to start. Kim and the boys. Kim and I have had this amazing time trying to reconnect and rekindle after the stress of what has been a continuous 17 months of cascading tragedy and disaster. We have been playing and laughing, and talking and adventuring and making love, and fucking!  As I continue working the Steps, trying to do so with more effort and more earnestness each week, I am feeling my “muchness” returning and today might be the first day that I have felt fully plugged in for entire day, so far.

Last night we had this fun, but also grueling night of shopping with the boys, then came home to stay up late and work on an extra credit, craft project for the youngest boy. Honestly, they worked on it while I cheered and lay on the couch because I am more than useless with that kind of stuff.  But there was something so perfect and so wonderful about watching the two of them, Mother and Son, huddled over the table late in the evening, with styrofoam balls, modeling clay, paper mache and some crude directions and a sketch that the boy had drawn up. They were working together just to do it really, since it was just extra credit.

Then there is the fact that they were working with Clay and Paper Mache’ making this  “Story Teller” doll with some children in his arms. Kim made the children by hand with Clay. She says she had never made it before, but they were incredibly detailed and amazing for a first effort and it just reminded me how she has always amazed me with her quiet hidden abilities that she will just whip out to accomplish some task that is placed before her.

I have to always remember; she is my best friend, she is amazing, she is my Mo Anam Cara and as long as I have her and the boys, everything is fine and everything will continue to be fine.

I am grateful that I feel like myself and I am happy today.

Written by jamesjanus

May 22, 2012 at 7:59 pm

Once upon a time, there was a little boy

with one comment

who didn’t fit in, wasn’t good enough, felt abandoned, betrayed and punished by the world around him; he tried to be different, he tried to fit in, he tried to do what was asked of him and failing that he built walls around his heart, cut himself off, turning to rage, sarcasm and a false sense of superiority and to cope with the side affects of that, he turned to booze and drugs.  Over time, he lost faith in mystical things, listening as his humanity, his soul and imagination whimpered and starved, caged off behind walls of fear, shame, guilt and loathing for everything including himself.   All of those feelings of inadequacy, hurt and fear followed with him in his heart, making even accomplishment and success taste bitter.

I was that boy and though I am undergoing a process of recovery and there are very specific steps to healing that have been laid out before me, even though while I am actually doing the work and following those steps I can feel the pain, doubt and self loathing lifting from me, as faith, hope, courage, humility and gratitude take their place; I find from time to time, that I get distracted and pause in the process, and when I pause in the process I find fear and the moment that happens, that little boy hops into the Captain’s chair in my mind and suddenly everything that the day before was so beautiful, acceptable and right, turns dark and sinister and ugly.

I am in the middle of what are supposed to be the most transforming steps in my program of recovery and I paused because I allowed other things to seem more important and now I am suffering, now I am afraid. Now I am wrestling with what must seem to be a ridiculous question of faith to some and I am terrified of letting go suddenly of many of my character defects, because they have been like an armor to me, a cursed armor that has been killing me even as it protects me, but none-the-less it has been protective. To trust, really and truly trust other people, indeed to trust god and myself has a ring of horror to it. It is such a ridiculously simple thing, what it all boils down to in the end.

Come to trust and accept that all is as it should be, learn to relax and embrace myself and life itself, finding serenity on the other side of that surrender

or, reject that continue on in pain and misery.

What is the nature of my crisis of faith?  I fear people will laugh and not understand, but it is very real to me and is not some kind of melodrama.

Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must”, then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse. – Rainer Rilke  Letters to a Young Poet, Volume One

Though beyond the odd poem or blog, I have written very little over the last 6 years or so, I have always considered myself a writer because I cannot stop the impulse, cannot stop thinking about it and it has been that way since I was in grade school.  It has been known to me from a very young age that this is God’s universe and that I have been given these gifts for a reason. This is the cornerstone of both my faith and my current crisis. A little over three years ago, driving to an AA meeting in North Carolina, I had a spiritual experience, my first legitimate one since childhood. It suddenly struck me that I had not only wasted my talents for writing, using them for nothing but making money; I had chosen drinking and drugs over my gifts that mission that I was given.  I was so moved that I had to pull over and weep. I made my apology to my own divine trinity, The Word, The Muses and The Divine and Beautiful.

I soon forgot, circling back from time to time, expecting some sort of order, for the Muse to tell me what to write, though I have had little conscious contact with them or The Word. I have many ideas, many impulses to write, but I left them alone, shrugging off time constraints or paralyzed by uncertainty which of things in my head are a part of the mission. Painfully, I see today that there is a possibility that all of it, any of it, could be what I was meant to put down. There will be no moment where Brigid  or Gabrielle or any other muse or angel will appear to me and announce the instructions to my mission.

And here is the final bit that I hide from everyone I know, myself included: I believe – I am a believer, a mystic, transcendental poet, capable of working words like a prophet, with the heart of a child and the trembling soul of one charged with illuminating a divinity I myself could not possibly hope to understand. This is why I cry when I watch or think too much of Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh, or Alice – because while my head my have turned from faith, from the mystical truths and power of belief, my heart, locked away in the dungeon I created for it, never did and somewhere, I knew I was betraying my heart and the God’s that created it.

I believe:

  • Anything, anything conceivable by the human mind is possible
  • That there is not a force more powerful or important in this Universe or any other more powerful that love. Which means it must be the very essence of our creator
  • I believe in the power of words, that they are more powerful that medicine or weapons; so how we speak to ourselves in thought and out loud to others is of great importance. Negative words, construct negative ideas and drive negative behavior..from the choice of words to care with which they are spoken and cadence that they march out of us, every syllable counts
  • I believe being awe struck, filled with wonder and incorrigibly optimistic are some of the best food for the soul
  • I believe that every single thing in the Universe is beautiful and divine, and a part of a system created by the The Word that is perfect, that all apparent systems within in are copies of the larger system and that if you understand one of those systems, you understand everything.
  • I believe in the muses, I believe that they not only work to inspire and illuminate for me, but actually push the message of the word through me, whenever I get out of the way
  • I believe that all acts of communion among human beings are divine and wonderful, this includes acts of mercy, consenting acts of passion and sex, kindness, community prayer and worship, rituals, family gatherings and so on
  • I believe in the message of Christ, of Buddha and other great religious figures
  • I believe that Martin Luther King and Gandhi where recent avatars of God
  • I believe requirements for faith are not God’s concern, that turning from your creator does not make his/her ego bruise, but will cause you suffering, because you must go through everything frightened and alone
  • I believe that I should be writing more

I believe that if I can let that scared and angry little boy grow up to have trust, faith and wonder again, that great things are ahead for myself and for everyone else in my life.  I believe too that since it will not leave me alone, one day, I hope sooner rather than later I will return to writing regularly and that whatever I am supposed to do will be done in time.

Written by jamesjanus

April 19, 2012 at 7:31 pm